New WeChat Rules Prohibit Political Posts

New rules for WeChat users prohibit posting unapproved political news. (Image: Helodrgt/Wikimedia Commons)
New rules for WeChat users prohibit posting unapproved political news. (Image: Helodrgt/Wikimedia Commons)

On August 7, China’s Internet Information Office started a campaign to “eliminate malpractice on instant messaging services.” The move seeks to inhibit what is allowed to be posted on WeChat, a Twitter-esque app developed in China.

Users of public accounts will be subject to three new restrictions:

  1. They need to provide proof of identity to service providers, although they can use public-facing pseudonyms once their real names are verified.
  2. Holders of public accounts will be required to obtain approval from their service providers if they want to post “current political news.” The service providers will then record those approvals with “content management departments”, which will allow authorities to know who posted what content.
  3. Lastly, and the most restrictive, only news organizations will be allowed to post current political news. Anyone else with approval will only be able to repost what the public news organizations have already posted.

So since news organizations are state-controlled, and anyone who posts news not in line with “approved content” can be identified, the only news from China will be what you are supposed to learn by design. Blech.

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